If you're reading this, it means that I am not able to post right now. The time in Japan is going to be VERY busy and I'm not anticipating much time to sit and compose posts, or visit everyone's blogs, even though I will do my best! (I'll certainly read comments at every opportunity though.) In case not, I have scheduled a few more posts which might just remind you of summer.
There is still so much to say about our cycle trip. We went to so many places but I seemed to get stuck on Yorkshire. And, in fact, I'm still stuck on Yorkshire! Because I did want to write about Scarborough, Yorks, which we found most interesting. Before the 1930s,and even beyond, this famous seaside town was smart and fashionable, and there's enough left of that to help you realise it really was a spectacular place, with yamazing scenery and everything (such as cliff railways, a spa, golden sands, even a castle) that the j and 20th century holidaymaker could desire.
When we arrived, we strolled along to the renovated spa buildings, where a first rate Hammond Organist was playing on the terrace. Glass screens block out the wind and allow a view of the sea through the columns, so it was surprisingly cosy down there. The audience gradually increased as time went on.
We also climbed up to the castle, which also has good views.
There's been renovation and updating but somehow it doesn't come together and the overwhelming feeling is of a super place that is crying out for help, appealing to not quite the right market or something. So, despite it being midday in midsummer, the rest of that lovely spa building was shut, so if you didn't like Hammond Organs, there was nothing else to do there. The fabulous cliffside gardens near our hotel were overgrown with weeds. Dinky Victorian shops nearby were closed (this Colonial Outfitters was on a street almost white with bird droppings and dive bombed by huge scary feral flocks of screaming gulls, a most miserable place. Why couldn't they do something to persuade these ferocious hordes of birds to go elsewhere? )
Wake up, Scarborough!
I particularly noticed the Grand Hotel, which was once a posh, over-the-top High Victorian hotel, with seven stories for seven days of the week, four towers for four seasons and 365 bedrooms. Its splendiferous interiors still exist, and faded 1950s photos on the wall show it in its luxurious heyday - but the town's flagship hotel now scores lousy ratings on Tripadvisor and has been done for food hygiene failures more than once. (read more here and here)
During our visit a filthy overflowing rubbish skip stood right by the front entrance. And take a look in this ballroom. At first it looks fine....
then you see the black mould all over the walls....
Perhaps I shouldn't be too negative. Some of the guests think the hotel has great entertainment, even if they don't necessarily love the food or cobwebs. Anyway, the bottom line is that Scarborough isn't suited to being downmarket, and it is obviously waiting for some major project to pull some well off customers and money in, so it can turn its fortunes round like Margate has done.
Meanwhile, there is always the sea, and lots of people do like to go there for their holidays. It was fascinating just sitting and watching them all.
The weather looks a bit grey but actually it was warm enough.
And people were doing the traditional things British people always do at the seaside.
We stayed at the Crown Spa hotel, which was built in 1844, just at the start of Scarborough's rise to popularity. It has huge sea views and is not as expensive as it looks, so it's a real bargain - it's well decorated, the facilities are good, we had a classy meal there and the staff were charming.